Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte has established a special anti-corruption commission even as he set in motion impeachment proceedings against a special prosecutor and the chief justice of the Supreme Court.
The firebrand president has been threatening to take legal action against ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales and chief justice Maria Lourdes Sereno accusing them of corruption. He deemed both of them unfit to hold their respective offices as they allowed outsiders to use their powers to tarnish the presidency.
Signing an executive order on Wednesday, 4 October, Duterte created a powerful anti-graft body, which would exclusively work for the president's office.
"There is a need to create a separate commission under the Office of the President solely dedicated to providing assistance to the President in the investigation and hearing of administrative cases and complaints, and in the conduct of lifestyle checks and/or fact-finding inquiries concerning presidential appointees and other public officers allegedly involved in graft and corrupt practices, or have committed other higher crimes and/or violations of the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees," read the presidential order.
Comprising a chairman and four other commissioners, the panel will be tasked with questioning and investigating any of the presidential appointees. The move has come when Morales' office raised the issue of questionable transactions allegedly linked to the bank accounts of Duterte and his family members.
Duterte had already accused both Morales and Sereno of acting on behalf of opposition forces to bring down the government. "I would tend to believe that she [Morales] was part of the conspiracy...these fabricated papers...you cannot use these. I don't want to think about that. You cannot use it as evidence in court because you stole them," said Duterte earlier.